Smart Cities

We all have heard of the concept smart city and IoT especially for those of us who lives in fast growing countries in the world.
In today’s society we are already accustomed with the word “Smart”, I mean we all have a little concept of what the word Smart means, we have smart devices, smart phones, smart watches and many other smart things and we also know what all this smart things have in common, they are all connected to the internet which mean the internet plays a big role in the world of smart devices, but then what is an actual definition of smart city?
According to Technopedia, a smart city is a designation given to a city that incorporates Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to enhance the quality and performance of urban services such as energy, transportation and utilities in order to reduce consumption, wastage and overall cost.
How are smart cities created?
We now know that the internet is the backbone of most of all smart devices but there are many other electronic components involved, just like your smart phones they still can perform multiple tasks without using the internet and also it will be nice to know that without electronics components such as Integrated Circuits (IC) and Systems on Chip (SOC) we won’t be able to access the internet to begin with.
Now this bring us to another popular concept also related to the internet and embedded systems(Electronics) called Internet of things(IoT).
IoT are basically electronics devices that connects with multiple sensors, actuators and RFIDs using different types of data communication protocols.Later, this data are then sent to servers or database or cloud platforms using the internet which are then processed to make this data meaningful.An example of this is creating a temperature sensing IoT device which sense the temperature of the environment and then send the data to the internet and then base on that threshold, we can either turn the thermostat on or off which in turn save power consumption of the thermostat. The IoT concept is a big deal when you look at the incredible statistics it rack and still racking up.
According to Statista Research Department as of Nov 14,2019;
“The total installed base of internet of things connected devices is projected to amount to 75.44 billion worldwide by 2025”.
Of course this is just an estimation by 2025 but whether it reaches that number or not it will only grow bigger than what it is already.
You should know that IoT is just a branch in smart city system and that it can also found in the following industries:
• Manufacturing/Industrial business
• Healthcare
• Security
• Smart Homes
Concept of Smart City
Now we know that for most of the things to be smart there have to be internet and electronics devices with that in place we are going to need a lot of smart things which can also be called smart sensors.This will turn our home into smart homes an example of this has already been discussed with temperature sensing IoT device. Another example will be automating our water heater at home, what that simply means is making your heater turn itself on and off depending on the temperatureof the water and the time, it is required. Now you save money in our power consumption and the benefits goes on.
Now that we have the smart devices in our home, we need a center hub where all this devices will be connected and from this hub we can communicate with the smart devices that are placed in the house. Thiscan be through our mobile phone or webpages whichever is comfortable for us.
With all of this in place at your home, we have successfully created a smart home.With the help of ourcenter hub we can save the smart device data to a local database or to a cloud server which will most likely be hosted by the governments. This leads to more data security and you don’t have to worry about sending all your data to private entities. The government will most likely be interested in your smart meter readings only i.e. your electricity and water usage readings.
Smart homes is a major ingredientthat makes up smart cities. Let’s talk about smart street lights and smart traffic lights which are also important aspect of smart cities. We have all been in a hurry to get to work or other important meeting only to get stuck in traffic. This isokay until we realize that we have only moved a few meters for the past 20 or so minutes due to traffic congestion on our lane and the traffic light at our right hand side signalis green but there are no cars over there. We have to wait because the traffic lights work sequentially which makes us wait in turns. This wait time was already set and doesn’t take into account the real time scenario. By shifting to smart traffic light, the real time traffic can be captured, analyzed and smart decision made to reduce the wait times. For our current scenario rather than giving green signal on lanes where there are no cars presently,the signal can be given to lanes with more cars.This greatly improves traffic flow, conserve fuel and reduces pollution.
With that said we probably know or have an idea of self-driving cars or smart cars by now and with the inception of 5G network and few more work getting our roads ready for it and of course there are still work going on creation of the smart cars but once that is done we can say good byes to the traffic lights all together.
The smart street light will turn on and off automatically based on the time of the day and weather changes. The intensity of street lights can be controlled i.e. the lamps can increase their brightness when they detect cars or human passing by and maintenance of this system will be faster as they are connected to a center server.It means that, if the lamps are working or not and if not the most important aspect other than seeing in the dark, of course we get to save lot of power consumption by the street lights.The scope of using smart device and IoT are constantly increasing day by day. And with innovative technologies such as 5G on the rise, the job market opportunities will only get better and bigger.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Author :Akinjide Azeez Jimoh

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